Chin Music?

ATHENS – Georgia head coach Mark Richt typically has a no-beard rule for his player. But there is an exception:

If the Bulldogs win the turnover margin every week, the players don't have to shave. If the margin is even, but the Bulldogs are plus for the season, they still don't have to shave.

"We actually started that last year," Richt said Tuesday, then smiled wryly, as media members laughed.

Last year the Bulldogs had a minus-16 turnover ratio, which ranked 118th out of 120 teams in FBS.

This year, however, there are a lot of scruffy faces around the team, as the Bulldogs are at plus-four.

"It's a big deal," said linebacker Christian Robinson, who has let his hair grow a bit. "Everybody, when we used go back on Monday, we would talk about how we had to shave this week. It's motivation. When you start to see the younger guys on the sideline say, ‘Man, we don't have to shave,' it's kind of funny."

Praise from Spurrier

Georgia may have only defeated two of the league's worst teams, but the resurgence has been noticed by one old nemesis: South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier.

"Yeah, Georgia played very well, ran the ball, threw the ball (against Vandy). They looked like the best team in the SEC probably last week and the week before against Tennessee. They got their act together," Spurrier said. "They are still in the hunt in the East. Heck, everybody is in the hunt.

"Well, heck Vanderbilt is still in the hunt. I think in the conference they are 1-2, yep, they've only got two losses. That Eastern side, Tennessee is a little bit in a hole I guess at 0-3, but anyway most of us have just played four games, a few have played five. It's pretty much wide open."

Thomas on par with Warrick Dunn?

Tailback Carlton Thomas, at 5-foot-7, has done better off the bench, compared to the few times he has been a featured back. The sophomore had two touchdowns in just four carries last Saturday.

But Richt is resisting the designation of Thomas a change-of-pace back.

"He's not a situational back. We don't say, ‘Hey, he's in there third-and-medium, third-and-long.' He's in there first, second and third down. We substitute more by series than we do situation, or if a guy is just gassed."

In fact, Richt compared Thomas to Warrick Dunn, whom Richt coached at Florida State and went on to a long NFL career.

"Everyone was like, ‘You can't feed the guy that many. He can't run between the tackles.' That wasn't true," Richt said. "He was getting probably 17-25 carries and at least 25 touches a game, sometimes receiving the ball. It never bothered him, and he did it in the NFL a good bit too. I think Carlton is probably as tough as Warrick Dunn was."

Green checks on a former teammate

Receiver A.J. Green said he texted with his former teammate Mohammed Massaquoi a couple days ago, after seeing Massaquoi get hit hard in an NFL game. Pittsburgh's James Harrison was fined $75,000 by the league for the hit on Massaquoi, who may have to miss Cleveland's next game.

Massaquoi told Green he was OK. Green, expected to join him in the NFL soon, was asked what he thought of the big hits, which have become a hot topic this week.

"I hope I don't ever get to experience one of those, especially in the head like that," Green said. "But you know it comes with the game, you've just got to be prepared. I'll just try to cover up, whatever. I know I'll get a couple licks, it's the NFL. You've just gotta get up from it."

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